Four appear for alleged Mangaung bombing plot
The four accused are Mark Trollip, John Martin Keevy, Johan Hendrik Prinsloo and Hein Boonzaaier.
The men were surrounded by journalists and flashing cameras as they emerged from the dock on Tuesday morning.
The court proceedings are due to start shortly.
Boonzaaier and Prinsloo are both senior members of the newly established Federale Vryheids Party (FVP), the party’s national secretary Francois Cloete told the Mail and Guardian on Tuesday. It is unclear if Trollip and Keevy are members of the party.
Police have tied the four men, involved in an alleged right wing bomb plot, to the ANC’s elective conference.
Free State police spokesperson Brigadier Billy Jones confirmed to the M&G that the four will face one charge of high treason and two charges in terms of the terrorism Act. “The threat was definitely directed at the conference,” Jones said on Tuesday morning, “following further investigation and more evidence which came to light".
This followed reports on Monday from police that the arrest of the men was "totally" unrelated to the elective conference.
An intelligence source told the M&G on Monday that both crime intelligence and counter-intelligence were involved in the operation, which saw the suspects arrested in three separate operations in Limpopo, the Free State and the Northern Cape. Police searched the suspects' premises and seized evidence "linked to the ongoing investigation", Jones said.
The M&G understands the arrests followed information that a group of Afrikaner nationalists were planning to “cause disruptions … possibly bombing the Mangaung university".
Cloete told the M&G: "We as the Federal Freedom Party still believe they are innocent because the story of the police is constantly changing. The police must now finally confirm to the FVP what they have been arrested for."
The FVP was formed in October after it registered with the Independent Electoral Commission as a political party.
Cloete said that it was established to promote "self-determination of the Afrikaner/Boer people in a confederal political model".